LYONS — The Wayne County Economic Development and Planning Department is hosting a panel discussion on rental housing — including issues related to affordable housing — next week.

Wayne EDC said it “is continuing to evaluate and assist in the provision and preservation of affordable housing options across the county,” noting it has been hosting online educational workshops for local landlords in September. The concluding event is an in-person panel discussion about rental housing at 5 p.m. Oct. 5 at 5 p.m. at the Newark Kountry Bar and Grill meeting room on Country Club Drive.

The event is free, but RSVPs are requested by emailing wayneplanning@co.wayne.ny.us or going to web.co.wayne.ny.us/428/Housing.

The department said local and regional landlords, property developers or managers, as well as non-profit housing providers, housing assistance program administrators, rental industry professionals and local officials, are welcome to attend.

The event, co-hosted by the Finger Lakes Landlord Association, will feature a panel of industry professionals representing different subsections, covering issues such as affordable housing programs, landlord-tenant law, housing assistance, rental property development and management, and the role of government in rental housing.

“Affordable housing is a topic of concern in communities across the country,” said Brian Pincelli, the county’s economic development director. “By educating and working with local landlords, we can identify issues and work to bring resources to the table to assure Wayne County residents and families have access to quality housing options.”

The Finger Lakes Landlord Association, a regional non-profit membership organization started by a small group of Wayne County landlords, has 178 members representing over 3,000 rental units in the Finger Lakes region.

“Local property owners are benefiting from the workshop sessions that cover all the major aspects of renting in-depth, and we look forward to a robust panel conversation about the future of the rental industry in Wayne County and in the region,” said Steve Austin, a Wayne County landlord and FLLA board member.

Economic Development and Planning said the programs are made possible through the state’s Preservation Opportunity Program, designed to support local housing agencies and authorities outside of New York City to develop strategic approaches to preserving existing affordable housing.

According to the agency, affordable housing is defined by federal housing standards as housing in which the occupant is paying no more than 30% of gross income for housing costs, including utilities.

Through POP, Wayne County said it recently completed an Affordable Housing Needs Assessment, which identified a need for more affordable rental units. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has approximately 1,500 affordable rental units, based on a median gross rent of $742 per month and median annual gross income of $27,094 for renters.

For more information, contact the Wayne County Economic Development and Planning Department at (315) 946-5919.

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